More of us than ever before are eager to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, so much so that many of us are now renovating our homes to be greener. This doesn’t just help to combat climate change and aid the Earth – eco-vating also makes sense of a personal level. By taking measures to live more sustainably, we can all drastically lower our utility bills. Eco-friendly features can also boost a property’s value and make it more attractive to buyers.
But how exactly does one eco-vate their property? Here are just a few common methods.
When it comes to cutting those gas bills, installing insulation can be one of the most effective ways. A well-insulated property will contain heat, preventing the need to switch on the heating as often.
The main place where many properties lose heat is the loft. In fact, it’s reckoned twenty five per cent of a home’s heat can disappear through an uninsulated loft. Insulating this area of the home is easily done through covering the walls with thermal wool. This can be done oneself or you can hire a professional to install it.
Cavity wall insulation is another example, which involves filling a wall will a thermal material. This is a little more tricky and may require a professional if you’re not DIY savvy. In some cases, it can cut one’s gas bills by an extra fifteen per cent.
Heat can also be lost through windows. Double and triple glazing can make windows thicker and prevent heat from leaking out. You should also look out for cracks by the side of windows and fill these with caulk.
Tank and pipe insulation meanwhile is another method of using up less heat. This allows water in pipes and in the boiler to stay hotter longer.
Small extra forms of insulation can also be considered. For example, cracks beneath doors could be sources of drafts, which can be easily fixed by fitting draft excluders. Cracks in walls meanwhile can also lose heat – by sealing up with caulk you can prevent this from happening. Remember that various furnishings can also make a difference. Thick curtains in winter will stop as much heat being lost through the glass. If you have leather sofas, buying throws for these may also be a way of stopping them getting as cold in low temperatures. On top of this, you should also consider changing your bedding in winter – thicker duvets and thermals underlays could result in a cosier night’s sleep.
Switching to electric appliances (e.g. electric oven, electric heaters) may be another way of using less gas. However, this could up your electricity bills instead, unless you switch to a sustainable source such as…
Embracing solar power is the biggest new movement in renovating homes. By installing solar panels you can effectively run off the grid and never have to pay another electricity bill again.
SunPower are one of the most popular brands for solar panels. Installing such panels can be tricky, so it can be worth hiring top rated SunPower Solar installers to do the job. Solar panels are most commonly placed on the roof, but can be placed in the garden or any surface that regularly gets light. They are expensive to install, although prices have dropped dramatically in recent years making it much quicker to make back the money spent.
For those not wanting to make the full move to solar power, there are various appliances that can be made to run off solar power such as garden lights, patio heaters and electric pond pumps. You can even use solar power to create a heated swimming pool.
Solar power has proved to be the most home appropriate source of sustainable energy and is very reliable (contrary to popular belief, you can often generate sufficient power even on a cloudy day). That said, there are other sourced of power that may benefit some homeowners more. Home wind turbines may be better suited to those that live in gusty regions. Mini hydro-electric generators can also be bought for those living by rivers.
On a smaller level, there are many ways that we can all be preserving electricity at home. Opting for low-power appliances with an Energy Star rating can reduce power usage. Common energy-hungry appliances that can be switched to low power include dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators. The lightbulbs that you use can also have an effect on the amount of power you use. LED and halogen lighting both use up much less power than your regular bulb. An extra measure could be to also install an energy monitor to see how much electricity you are using each month. And of course, remembering to unplug unused appliances such as TVs and computers can have an effect.
On top of gas and electricity bills, there are also ways to cut your water bills.
Greywater recycling is a way of re-using waste water from the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower (although not the toilet). Such water can be recycled and used again, often for flushing toilets or for watering plants. Lawn sprinklers can be rerouted to run off this source too. More expensive greywater recycling systems may also be able to offer a level of treatment that allows them to be used straight from the tap again.
Another system of preserving water is rainwater recycling. This works best in temperate regions of the world that receive enough rainwater. The water can be collected in a barrel, which can then be utilized for garden use. Alternatively, it can be treated in a tank and turned into drinking water.
There are small ways that we can all be recycling water around the home. For example, you can place plants over trays that collect overflow water. This can then be used to water other plants. When sieving pasta or vegetables, this excess water can also be used to feed the plants – it is rich with nutrients that will help them grow.